United, We Can

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January 8, 2021

Twenty-two Northern Kentucky nonprofits have received more than $600,000 so far from the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to support families and individuals who are suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) and United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) teamed up in March to quickly activate the fund.

The contributions had immediate impact. The rapid-response fund focused on deploying flexible resources to community-based organizations across our region that are supporting families and neighborhoods most negatively affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Brighton Center/NKY Safety Alliance and St. Vincent de Paul of Northern Kentucky were among the first to receive funding to help the clients they serve.

"The COVID-19 Regional Response Fund is another example of the great community in which we live,” said Karen Zengel, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul of Northern Kentucky. “Our neighbors come together to support each other, quickly, without question, because it's the right thing to do. No one should be left to navigate this time alone. We are blessed to be part of a generous community and are honored to serve those who are struggling during this time of uncertainty." Their grant supported emergency rent and utility assistance for individuals in need, many of whom had lost jobs very suddenly.

Funding was also used to support two pandemic childcare centers for essential workers operated by Learning Grove. These centers in Covington and East Walnut Hills ensure that families can access the childcare they need, even if they cannot afford the full cost of the program. They also offer smaller groups with a higher teacher-to-child ratio to best support the children during this time of stress.

“Support from the Regional Response Fund was crucial to get our emergency epidemic childcare up and running,” said Shannon Starkey-Taylor, CEO of Learning Grove. “The speed and agility of funding was impressive during this crisis and critical in supporting those families who most need our support during the epidemic.”

Northern Kentucky grant recipients, to date, include Be Concerned; Brighton Center/NKY Safety Alliance; Children’s Home of NKY; Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home; Emergency Shelter of NKY; Faith Community Pharmacy; First Baptist Church of Elsmere; Gateway Community and Technical College; Generations Church Food Pantry; Helping Hearts NKY; Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky; Learning Grove; Master Provisions; Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission; The Point ARC; Redwood School and Rehabilitation Center; St. Vincent de Paul of NKY; Transitions, Inc.; The Victorian at Riverside (formerly Covington Ladies Home); Volunteers of America Mid-States for their work in Northern Kentucky; Welcome House; and Women’s Crisis Center. In addition, several COVID-19 Regional Response Fund grants directed to organizations in Ohio will support Kentucky residents, as they serve individuals on both sides of the river.

Domestic violence has become a key concern during these last few weeks, and support from the fund helped rent hotel rooms for women and children who needed to leave their homes. “Social distancing and isolation can put people at even greater risk for violence in their homes,” said Christy Burch, Executive Director of the Women’s Crisis Center. “Women’s Crisis Center is committed to providing our community with life-saving services. We are grateful for the generosity that helps us with emergency funds to respond to this crisis. We are honored to be part of a community working to prevent and decrease this virus while also valuing and supporting people impacted by violence.”

To learn more about the fund, to donate and to read stories of impact this support has had on the individuals and families in our community visit www.covid19regionalfund.org.

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